I re-read The Stand about every other year. It’s arguably my favorite book and I consider it a Great American Novel. I’d want it with me on the proverbial stranded desert island. I own the unabridged edition; the original was published in 1978 but King was forced to make a lot of edits. He restored them all 10 years later.
A super virus knocks out more than 99 percent of the population and the survivors are linked together by dreams. Some go to California in order to serve The Dark Man, and others are called to Colorado after they see a woman named Mother Abigail every night. Those in Colorado try to form a small society, with the end goal of confronting the Dark Man and making a final Stand against evil.
There are people in Colorado who end up deflecting to California; still others are recruited as spies to go there and find out more about The Dark Man, or Randall Flagg. The (mostly) men who make up the group who travel to California for the final stand are utterly human. There’s nothing remarkable about them besides their immunity to the super virus. The people in California are better organized and more talented. So in addition to being a story about good over evil, it’s also a tale about how a normal person can rise to be a great hero.
King’s primarily known for his work in horror but I’d argue The Stand isn’t horror at all, although there are parts that are gruesome. It’s post-apocalyptic fantasy more than anything else. I think the fact that it’s so hard to categorize makes it his best.
Thanks for reading my book a day posts for March! Back to normal posting now.